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Web audience since 2003: focus on summer 2006

While the seasonality of internet visits has been confirmed, new trends observed over the summer period 2007 predict behavioural changes in internet surfers.
  • Study carried out from 01/01/03 to 08/21/2006
  • The entire XiTi perimeter

Summer holidays come early on the web in 2006

As we saw in our previous study in June 2006, visits to websites vary with the seasons, with a particularly clear drop in audience in July/August.

Was the summer drop in 2006 comparable with those in previous years?

In the graph below, we look particularly at the evolution of visits from May to August compared with the past four years:


We can clearly see a lengthening of the drop in audience in summer 2006:
  • While 2003 to 2005 saw a mid-June audience figure higher than in early May, this is not the case in 2006, when numbers were already declining at this point.
  • At the beginning of July in 2005, the number of web visits is 6% higher than in the 1st week of May 2005, while in 2006 the variation between these two periods is -2.4%.

The falls in audience during July and August 2006 are less clearly marked, which is probably linked to the drop in visits earlier in the summer. The audience level at the end of August 2006 (compared with May 2006) is equivalent to that in August 2005 (compared with May 2005).

This year, the summer drop in audience is thus more "spread out" in time, and therefore we see less marked dips on certain dates. Is this a sign of a significant change in behaviour, with web users staggering their holiday times more?
Web audience level at the end of August 2006: over two and a half times higher than in January 2003

Starting in August 2003, web visits moved into continuous growth, reaching a score over two and a half times higher than three years ago at the end of August 2006.

Between May 2006 (when our previous study ended) and August 2006, the audience level has fallen slightly. This represents the annual summer drop detailed in the previous section: we clearly see the expected fall in numbers of visits.


How will the number of web visits have evolved by the end of the year? Answer in January 2007 with XiTi's audience figures, but in the meantime check out XiTi Monitor next week for our first forecasts...

Methodology :

The recorded visits to the sites we audit have enabled us to calculate weekly rates of evolution. For each weekly rate, only the sites that were present in consecutive weeks are considered. This maintains a constant, maximum pool of sites. We assume that the bias arising from the weekly period used is negligible.

These rates make it possible to obtain the evolution in visit numbers for a constant number of sites. The influence of sites leaving XiTi and new sites joining is thus accounted for in the model.

The evolution in the numbers of visits recorded is corrected with the evolution in the number of sites audited by XiTi. Remember that no institute is able to list all the sites that exist on the Internet. We have chosen to represent the evolution in average audience in a closed system, revealing the evolution of visit potential.

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